We’re exactly one week away from the arrival of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Sneak preview screenings will begin on Thursday night next week and likely go well into the early morning. But Disney and Lucasfilm are showing no signs of slowing down their marketing mayhem yet. In fact, a recently released The Rise of Skwyalker poster just might be the best of the entire campaign, and it even pays tribute to one of the most rare Star Wars posters of all time.
In case you’re not familiar, this poster is actually a re-creation of the first poster release for Return of the Jedi. However, at the time of the poster’s release at Christmas 1982, the movie was still being called Revenge of the Jedi. George Lucas came to the conclusion that Jedi don’t seek revenge, and opted for something that sounded less aggressive. Because of that, the original Revenge of the Jedi poster is one of the rarest and most valuable pieces of Star Wars memorabilia. Here’s a comparison:
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The artist behind this poster is Rich Davies, who does an outstanding job of recreating Drew Struzan’s signature style on this poster. There have been some minor aesthetic changes to make it fit with the modern marketing, such as the font at the top which says “The Saga Concludes.” It’s a shame the title treatment couldn’t easily be reworked to look like the Revenge of the Jedi title, but we’ll take what we can get. Speaking of which, we’re hoping this poster will be available for purchase at some point. The only problem is that this is a collaboration with the art group known as Poster Posse, and while it was endorsed by the official Star Wars social media team, it may not be released as a poster to collect.
You can check out the rest of the movie posters released for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker over at IMP Awards. Otherwise, the movie opens in theaters everywhere next week on December 20, 2019.
There’s one particularly telling and effective moment in The Skywalker Legacy, the feature-lenght documentary that’s included on the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker home release that sums up much of the ambivalence and consternation that some had with J.J. Abrams’ return to the Star Wars universe. After showing the intricate construction of a giant, practical snake monster, the doc cuts back to footage of Jabba The Hutt, that old analogue beast that slithered its way into our hearts. The sentiment is clear – we’re making movies like we used to! A celebration of practical effects, the dripping of k-y jelly to give viscosity just like the old costume days, it’s all there. There’s excitement on set, everyone talking about how amazing it looks, how lifelike, how this is how you’re supposed to do movies like this.
Cut to Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett who shatters the myth, letting us know the creature was replaced by a CGI version in post.
Guyett’s resume is mighty. Having made his bones on groundbreaking films like Twister and Casper, he helped Spielberg bring the events of D-Day to screen in Saving Private Ryan, helped bring to life the best looking film in the Harry Potter series, Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, and even made the theatrical version of Rent feel more than a stage production. Guyett has had many collaborations with Abrams – from the Star Trek Reboots through The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker he was even second unit director on the former, as well as working with George Lucas on Episode III to round off the prequels. He’s in a unique position to speak to these changing landscapes of epic filmmaking.
We spoke at length about the apparent contradictions and indulgences in making a Star Wars film, and he made the case for why nothing was wasted and all contributed to the final presentation. He was erudite and open to the discussion, making for a dream conversation with a man who quite literally has helped shape what amazes us on screen for decades.
The following has been edited for clarity and concision.
We see practical effects being championed as almost a marketing ploy with the “postquels” as a mix of nostalgia and an attempt to delineate from Lucas’ second trilogy. In some ways the love of the practically-realized snake undercuts the extraordinary CGI you and your team accomplished, and raises questions about why the need to fetishize the on-set inclusions when they’re replaced anyway. Could you talk about that ethos, that somehow doing stuff on a computer is a “cheat” while doing an effect practically is not?
I think at the end of the day we’re all trying to do the best that we can, trying to make the best, most dramatic or emotional movie we can visually. I’m coming from figuring out how do you get the most...
Since Solo: A Star Wars Story ended up being a box office disappointment, it’s not likely that we’re going to get a sequel, and that’s coming from the film’s co-writer Jon Kasdan. But if the story arc that began in the spin-off were to continue, it would be awesome if it ended up making Lando Calrissian even more prominent. Apparently artist Peter Stults thought the same thing, which is why he used his quarantine time to make a trio of posters for a film series called The Calrissian Chronicles. Check out the Lando Calrissian trilogy posters and all the cool details within them below.
This imagined trilogy would be directed by Michael Anderson Logan’s Run, with a script Stanley Mann Conan the Destroyer, Irvin Kershner director of The Empire Strikes Back, and story by George Lucas himself. However, instead of John Williams doing the movie, Peter Bernstein The Ewok Adventure would be composing the score.
The overall vibe of the trilogy feels like a mix of 1970s blaxploitation and sci-fi with a little bit of fantasy tossed in there, which you can see in each of the posters below.
Peter Stults Lando Calrissian Trilogy Posters
The first installment of The Calrissian Chronicles obviously features Billy Dee Williams in the role of Lando Calrissian. It would also have prominent roles for Tamara Dobson, Ron O’Neal and Moses Gunn. But the best tidbit here is that Shirley Bassey would play Lando’s beloved droid counterpart L3-37.
The second installment looks to have somewhat of an Asian influence with the addition of Tatsuya Nakadai and Meiko Kaji joining the cast. There’s also a role for Vonetta McGee, and Shirley Bassey is still around as L3-37.
In the final installment, a bit Star Wars returns with Peter Mayhew returning as Chewbacca, as well as a “special appearance” by Harrison Ford as Han Solo. Otherwise, the cast expands again with Angela Brent and Robert Urich. However, Shirley Bassey isn’t listed as L3-37 anymore, so maybe she met her end in the second installment.
But the real treat here in this final installment is imagining the introduction of Jean-Claude Van Damme to Hollywood as none other than Darth Maul. It’s a nice reference to the character’s return in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and just thinking about the skilled martial artist playing Darth Maul is so fun.
Unfortunately, we’ll never get to see movies like this with Billy Dee Williams in the lead. But these would make great comic books. Then again, maybe there’s hope for a Lando Calrissian film series starring Donald Glover. After all, Sleight director J.D. Dillard and writer Matt Owens are on the verge of becoming the first black creators to tackle Star Wars behind the camera and on the page, so maybe they have something...